Military Spouse Life

My (Almost) Run-In With #44

Today America gets another President. I won’t bore you with a political post, because honestly I’m tired of this election, the politics, and the fighting. Also, I’m not usually funny when it comes to politics….

I did read the letter #44 has written to the American people as he prepares to leave office. One line talked about the mourning he has done with the people of Charleston. I will say, I was completely aggravated when Dylann Roof and his cowardly acts of violence brought #44 to my current city of Charleston, but he never bothered to go to Newtown, CT in 2012. Newtown, you see, is my hometown. I felt like #44 should also have grieved and cried with Newtown…..but he apparently had other things to do. Nonetheless, he came to Charleston (I have my own theories on why, but again, that is not what my blog is about) and I came within a few feet of #44 at one point….but only after I spent about two hours thinking I was going to die in a diner downtown. Seriously. Oh, and there was a robot…

I was working at a shotgun diner downtown when the funeral for our dear Senator who was murdered by Dylann Roof was being held one block away (the AME church where it all took place was roughly three blocks away). Now I’ve met a lot of characters waiting tables, but the lady in the wig and bad makeup at table 1 was about to take the cake. Then she brought in her luggage. This would have been fine, except she started to unpack.

The day was already odd, with the street blocked off for the funeral, the Presidential motorcade being parked outside, and secret service in and out of the diner all morning. Now we have a crazy lady at table one. Talking to her, things just got crazier. She wanted to know if she could leave her bags with us while she went to the funeral. 

Ummmm, that’s a big ol’ NOPE. The fact there was no room aside, we aren’t holding bags for a stranger who now has about 30 medication bottles on display. Also, we don’t serve egg whites, no matter how many times you ask.

She proceeded to order fruit and continue rumaging through her stuff. The other server and I are just watching this, waiting for her to leave. Then I notice it’s not just secret service outside, but the FBI is now gathering.

I inform the manager, who looks out the large glass windows and says “Well that’s not good for business,” before he turns back to the eggs he’s cooking. 

A customer goes to leave.

An agent asks them to step back inside the diner and stay put awhile.

This is where I start to panic. The woman by the door at table one is in her own world as Charleston police start to also gather. 

The phone rings.

Another store who shares the parking lot behind us wants to sneak some customers in our back door because they can’t get out either. As I’m informing the manager, Doug, about this with panic in my voice, I look up in time to see a robot move down the street.

I tell Doug about the robot, and now I have his attention and not the eggs. He steps out into the street to talk to an agent. Now the ATF is here. WTF do we need ATF for???

I’m now in the back trying to call Bill……who let his phone die and now I’m going to die, and I can’t say goodbye. 

Doug comes back inside and tells me and the other server (Alli) the cops are looking for a woman with a wig because of a discarded suspicious package out back. 

Not only am I am out to die, but I have to do all the police work first.

SHE’S AT TABLE ONE!!!!!!

Now Alli is worried.

I still can’t get a hold of Bill (like his phone will magically turn on) and so I call my friend Michelle and send her to the house. I’m pretty convinced I’m going to die at this diner. For all I know the news is outside, and Bill will get wind of this before I can talk to him. Michelle talks me off the ledge and I join everyone else in watching the street.

The police ask the lady at table one into the street and almost an hour goes by. We can’t leave, and there are more law enforcement agents on our little street, than in Washington, DC during an inauguration. Meanwhile, President Obama is a block away singing Amazing Grace with thousands of people. If the presidency didn’t pan out, the man could have easily made it big in Broadway. Like him or not, he can sing!!

Anyway, back to the package.

We start clearing down inside the restaurant to close. The police slowly start getting people out to leave. I’m still stuck, and I have no idea what the robot is doing….or why we have such a thing in Charleston….or where they took the crazy lady with the wig.

Long story short, the package turned out to be nothing and the police searched her bags before asking her to leave. The bag she tossed had coconut oil and bubble wrap in it, and she PROBABLY just didn’t think about throwing it out so close to where the President was speaking.

It wasn’t long after the street was cleared of the excess undercover agents the motorcade was brought past the diner, and we all stood in the window, watching over a dozen black SUV’s fly by. At some point, I was within feet of the President of the United States….oh, and I didn’t die.

I still don’t know why we have a robot, or what that lady was really up to…but one day I can tell my kids I was detained in a diner by ATF, FBI, CIA, and Charleston police as #44 passed right by me. Let’s hope #45 doesn’t make my life so eventful!

I’m working today but I’m hoping to catch some of the inaguration. Will you be watching?

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Military Spouse Life

Moving On Up…To Illinois

It’s really happening. We started packing recently and while it seems like I’ve spent enough time to pack an entire house on just packing one room, it’s ALL books and I’m not done with that one room!

This said, I hesitated several times when I was packing books on or by some of my favorite authors to be included in the book I am working on, Literary Crazy. If I find an agent to work with and can move forward on writing the rest of the book, I’ll need those materials. Knowing I have several other projects I can be working on, not to mention school, a newborn, a toddler, and the zoo of animals I live with, I packed all the books.

THEN BOOM!

Twitter hosted a pitching party where you use certain hashtags used by agents to find potential authors to work with. I found out about it last minute and sent my tweet anyway. Two tweets later, I had four interested agents!!!!!!!

I was beyond excited by which agents had requested more material, but now I must sit and wait. When I told Bill, he said I had better dig the books I packed back out because we rented a trailer to take the packed stuff back to Illinois over Thanksgiving! Now I’m not a superstitious person (well except for hockey…..and I’m pretty sure the Cubbies won the World Series because of my rituals…..in fact, I should call Theo Epstein and see where my ring is!) but I’m afraid to dig out the books/materials because if I do, the agents might not get back to me with good news. I know, I know……you’re rolling your eyes, I’m sure.

Instead of working on unpacking and repacking the mass amount of books to find what I need, I’m just working on other projects needing my attention. This consists mostly of article writing and trying to catch sleep when the kids let me!

I’m sure I will wait until the last minute (when Bill is loading the trailer to go to Illinois) to decide to pull out the books….which will be how the fight starts (just kidding).

Meanwhile, if you don’t hear from me, have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! As I mentioned, we are headed to Illinois so little man can meet the family and we can start house hunting! Sadly, I don’t  care much about the house we buy, as long as it has a room for my writing and a space for my soap making. I’ll leave you with some pictures of what I’ve been working on in that department!

Military Spouse Life

Monday Book Club (On Tues)

This week we are talking about Dawn by Elie Wiesel. A few weeks ago I read Night and LOVED it. I have to say, I did not feel the same passion with this book as I did Night.

While Night was narrative non-fiction, Dawn was complete fiction. The main character, Elisha, is a Holocaust survivor tasked with killing a British officer at Dawn. While in the book Night, the main character was faced with the possibility of being killed, the follow up story takes the opposite side. Throughout the novel (which is rather short and probably has the word count of a novella) the main character is struggling with the task of having to be the executor.

The story is well told and the conflict is clear, I just did not enjoy this work as much as I did his original. Because it is well written and his author voice clearly defined, I would still give this book 4/5 stars. I had rated Night as 5/5 because I could not put it down. Maybe it speaks to writing about things we live through, versus the mind of a creative person. I’m not sure. I still would recommend reading this after you read Night.

I wanted to write a note about Book Club. As I enter my third trimester of pregnancy, please do not hold it against me if I do not post a book review each week. I would love to continue finishing a book a week, but sometimes it is just not possible! I do want to encourage you to keep reading and share with us in the comments about the book(s) you are working on! I will continue to post regularly on the blog (as well as my Children’s Blog: Little BookWorm Blog. I am balancing pregnancy (which makes me incredibly tired) and my own writing, which has made me push reading to the side a bit….just for now!

Military Spouse Life

Monday Book Club: The Book Thief

Happy Monday!

I know I said I would be reading and reviewing the second book in the Night trilogy by Elie Wiesel, but I decided to take a break. Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones, or I just need to get away from narrative non-fiction for a bit and read some fiction. Either way, I decided to review The Book Thief, one of my favorite books EVER! It works this week because of the setting (which is the fiction version of the events Wiesel writes about.)

The Book Thief is set in Germany during WWII. A girl after my own heart, Liesel Meminger is a 10 year old girl who is given up to a foster family by her mother after her father disappears and brother passes away. During the course of the book, Liesel (the book thief) steals books from anywhere she can. This includes a bonfire, snow, and a mansion where she is ultimately discovered and encouraged to steal books from.

The book also had plenty of morbidity with the war in the background and is balanced with some wonderful and unsuspecting friendships.

Narrated by Death (who incidentally needs a vacation but cannot take one) The Book Thief is also a story where love is a central theme and represents several meanings. The use of love gives the reader hope.

If you are interested in the author (who has written several books) his name is Markus Zusak, and you can visit his website here. One of my favorite things about Zusak is his ability to draw you a picture of his characters and make them feel real!

I also want to say there is a movie version of The Book Thief and I have not seen it. Why? Because usually the movie ruins the book for me and since I love the book so much, I don’t want to ruin it for myself, I just skipped the movie. The book overall gets 5 out of 5 stars. It is well written, factual, moving, and made me cry, while still giving me hope for young readers!

So tell us, what are you reading? Have you read The Book Thief? Have you seen the movie?

Speaking of books, Grandma (my mom) sent a package to Talia today. There was all types of toys and things…..she ONLY cared about her new book! I love this kid!

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Military Spouse Life

Monday Book Club: Night – Elie Wiesel

Where do I begin?

Last week, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Elie Wiesel passed away at 87 years of age. While the book Night was on my to-read list, it jumped to the top of the pile. The version I purchased was the complete trilogy, and I will read the other two stories over the coming weeks. Honestly though, I read Night in just over a day, so I am sure it will not take that long to read the rest.

This book gets 5 out of 5 possible stars. Here is why:

In middle school I played Anne Frank in the school play, I still wear my grandfathers WWII dog tags around my neck, I love history and have read all I can on the Holocaust. Sure I went to the Holocaust museum in Washington, DC when I was there in college with the law club. I read everything I could about Corrie Ten Boom. I was sure I knew what happened during those horrible years….but I KNEW NOTHING.

Elie Wiesel gives the first hand true account of what happened to him as a young Jewish boy in a concentration camp. On one hand, his account is well written. On the other hand, the pure shock of what went on and what he witnessed made it a compelling read. Together you have a purely amazing book.

Reading his account made me both sad and angry. The realization of children being murdered like they were, not to mention all the adults, is enough to make you want to throw up. As I was in bed reading this book, with Talia next to me, I cried because I could not imagine what any parent went through during this time. I was angry because it was fellow human beings who had done this to the Jewish community. How the hell did this happen?

I was encouraged by the continued faith many had during this time. Many of the prisoners could have turned their back on God, and yet they still expressed their faith. I won’t lie, had it been me, I would have been so angry at God. Elie Wiesel struggled with this a bit, yet here he was a 15 year old boy in a concentration camp.

I have two pieces of advice for reading this book. First, have your phone on hand to Google any words you might not know. At the beginning of the book there are several words related to the Jewish religion I was unfamiliar with. As soon as I looked up each word, they made sense to me. Most of it I knew, but I grew up in a Baptist household, so some words were just not in my vocabulary. Do not let this deter you from reading the book!

My second piece of advice is to be prepared to be shocked. Even if you think you know how bad it was, you have no idea. You will not fully understand unless you lived through a concentration camp, yet this will bring you closer. In the Forward, Mr. Wiesel says “Only those who experienced Auschwitz know what it was.” I think this is true, yet this book will bring you a closer understanding.

Elie Wiesel - Concentration Camp

With all of this being said, have you ever read Night? What did you think? What else are you reading this week? Use the comments section to tell us!

P.S. This picture has been circulating and I can’t find the original to give credit. In the middle row, seventh from the left, is young Elie Wiesel. May he rest in peace.

Military Spouse Life

My Child The Rock Star Fish

It’s official, Talia can no longer go out without her sunglasses….she’s famous!

Sort of!

With all the pets we have, we should really have our own parking space at our veterinarians office. I LOVE our vet. He and his daughter take the absolute best care of our zoo.

We stopped in the other morning to pick some items up and The Citadel mascot, a bull dog named “Boo” was there for a checkup because she is pregnant with some pups. The local paper was there taking pictures, and Talia got in on the fun. Yesterday, we saw the article on the front page of the local newspaper!

Of course, the timing could not be funnier. I JUST got finished a four month fight with The Post and Courier and now my kid is in the paper. The P&C has an insert they toss in everyone’s driveway every Tuesday morning in a plastic bag (because of the perpetual rain in Charleston.) We do not read this insert. It’s not an actual paper. It is essentially garbage. I guess the idea is they want to entice you to subscribe to the paper. About 4 months ago I started calling each week and asking them to stop. If everyone who did not read the silly insert did this, we would cut down on the waste in our area. I’m not a super tree-huger or anything, I just don’t like paper being wasted, not to mention the plastic bags. Every Tuesday they threw it in our drive, and every Tuesday I called. Then I started emailing. Then I started calling supervisors. FINALLY, this past Tuesday, no paper. By Saturday, Talia was IN the paper! Anyway!

Here is the link!

Here is Talia going out of the house in style…

So to celebrate, we had lunch at Olive Garden….because, bread sticks…

Daddy is serious about Talia’s coloring skills. Also, big shout out to my goofball cousin, Joey, whom Talia calls “Uncle Joey.” He was drinking a martini the other night and did not give Talia the olives. So, in pure Talia style, she took the extra bowl of olives the server brought her, and then proceeded to put the ones she was not going to eat, in daddy’s drink. I guess she thinks olives go in drinks now. Thanks, Joey…..

Today we were invited to a pool party at my friend Missy’s house. Missy and I took Talia to meet Trisha Yearwood and her sister when the Garth and Trisha concert came to town. Sadly, I did not get to go to the concert. I was so so busy with the bakery, we had to give away our tickets (it was Valentine’s weekend….we were slammed!)

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Missy and her hubby have an in-ground pool, and Talia firmly believes she is a fish….

Also, it is worth mentioning, we gained a new family “foster” this weekend. I say foster because I’m still fighting to not keep it.

Last night our next door neighbors called Bill at about 9:30. They wanted to know if one of our cats got out because they had a “cinnamon colored” cat over at their house. All three of ours were accounted for, but because they are older, Bill offered to take a few pictures to post on the Facebook page for our neighborhood. I told him to not dare come back with a cat. He kept the promise he made to leave the cat there as he ran out the door. When he came back, he revealed a picture of a kitten only weeks old and NOT cinnamon colored.

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The kitten could not be any cuter, but I was instantly sure it was a stray. It’s only a few weeks old…maybe 8?

I was relieved Bill had not brought the cat home….but sure enough, at 11:00 pm, the damn phone rang again. I didn’t even have to ask…I knew it was Ted next door. He told Bill his cat was trying to kill the kitten and asked us to come get it. Bill tore out the door, carrier in hand, and brought back the cat.

One of the things I LOVE about my husband is his caring heart…..that caring heart however has already brought home too many pets. It’s been here 24 hours now. No one on the Facebook page is claiming the cat and Bill went and named it. He’s calling it “Puck” like a hockey puck, because he’s all over the place! He also let Talia play with it. I have a feeling I am going to lose the battle of the Puck….

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Despite all the activity around our house, I’ve managed to get a LOT of writing done on my novel for Camp NaNoWriMo. Tomorrow (Monday the 4th) I will talk a bit more about it during Book Club. I will review the book I read over the week and talk about the passing of Elie Wiesel. Be sure to sign up to get notifications in your email box each time I post!

For my American friends celebrating this weekend, please have a SAFE and fun weekend!

Military Spouse Life

His Giving Heart

One of the things I love most about my husband is his heart. Saturday, he and my cousin Joey participated in a motorcycle ride to raise money for kids in our area with cancer. When they were done with the main part of the ride, Talia and I caught up with them to follow to the last stop for the after party.

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I don’t know the numbers, but it was cool watching at least 100 bikes pull out.

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One of the local fire departments provided an escort.

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So I got to follow from John’s Island to Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina, (USA).wp-1466965960829.jpg

Beautiful, right? I can’t wait to move!!! Haha!

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These are just SOME of the bikes…..keep in mind, there were a lot of 2 passenger bikes.

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Bill on the left, with Talia (who just woke up) and my cousin Joey. Yes, I know he looks like Corey Feldman….but we are Italian, so I imagine he’s much shorter.

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I have no idea what was so funny here, but everyone had a good time….even if we didn’t know there was a pool and bring someone’s swimsuit. Talia got upset each time she saw the pool. Kid thinks she’s a fish!

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After dinner we headed home……

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with these professional pictures!

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We even had enough time for a bedtime story. Grandma sent a new book and we have only ready it about 200 times!